Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Don't Break the Shadowbind: People management.

Don't Break the Shadowbind! is our Wednesday column brought to you by Omoikitte. Endgame isn't just killing mobs and splitting up the drops, that is the easy part. Omoikitte will provide her insight on how to do the hard part: the administration and planning of events, deciding on how to divvy up the drops, and how to deal with that one whiny LS member that just won't shut up about their abjuration. Today, we look at the complicated issue of people management in the linkshell.

Whether you like it or not at the end of the day, your linkshell needs people in it to function as its intended purpose. Otherwise you just wasted 8k to not look like an RMT. In an endgame linkshell you need a large pool of raw material to pull from to effectively achieve anything. The raw material being the players of FFXI.

These are your team to back you up on your grand schemes and plans, in the constant effort to strive for better gear, monitary rewards, new titles or just for the simple pleasure of a fight and kill well done in an accomplished manner, there are many many reasons people join linkshells at end game.

Understanding the moods and currents of opinion in your linkshell is vital for an effective leader to be able to predict how far you can push your membership and when to slack off, as a leader your duty is to balance both the stern and authorative figure as well as knowing when is the best time to bend like a reed and sublimate your own personal opinions and give way to the popular opinion.

Knowing that you can't force anyone to do something is paramount, you can only be a guide, what your linkshell ends up being is a collection of individuals who are willing to be guided by you and trust your judgement or tactics to win the day. There is of course frictions and undercurrents of opinion that you will not always be aware of, the disgruntled few, but in a solid linkshell, those few dissenters have a way of working themselves out of the linkshell and on to other things reasonably quickly and you have a strong core still with you.

Flexibility is extremely important in any situation when dealing with people, regardless of your personal opinions, you shouldn't be letting that cloud your judgement or you end up undermining your own position of authority and it is extremely difficult to come back from that.

You need to be able to remain objective and clear-minded, accepting that your linkshell is a melting pot of personalities and opinions, not all these opinions will be parallel to your own, nor will you be joined at the hip with every single member in your shell, but that is not a good reason to ignore or neglect the other members, making sure they still feel appreciated or a part of things is just as important as them showing up to events. Without them, your linkshell isn't going to be doing anything except soloing rarabs outside Windurst, and you want to be reaching for the sky and tearing down AV instead!

Inevitably, you will run into problems with people, over time this is just the nature of what happens, simple misunderstandings that are easily resolved in person are more likely to be blown out of proportion online where a whole facet of human communication is missing, the minute interpretations of body language, tone, pitch, eye contact and non-verbal signals are no longer there as a safety net, so as a leader it is important to be prepared to overcompensate for that lack and be slightly more sympathetic, it is your job to look at the whole picture and not mire yourself down in irrelevant detail that at the end of the day is only preventing you from doing an effective job more than it is assisting you in directing the linkshell forward.

Open lines of communication with your linkshell and keep them open, the membership will feel cut off and ignored if they have no-one to talk to and that will result in a lack of interest in events and participation. Even if that means that they will talk to your sub-leaders rather than you, you still have the responsiblity to deal with the issue in a delicate fashion, charging in there guns blazing is more than likely to inflame the situation than fix it if there is an issue, look at your options and consider the best way to move forward, plan ahead if need be but don't ignore it or you will have a far bigger problem on your hands over time.

If you as a leader are going to do something controversial, make sure you have a good reason to do it, one that is justifiable, not just "because I said so". That will never be good enough and lead people to desert your linkshell. Even if they don't like the reason, it is still an authentic and verifiable reason and most of the time that will be enough. You will inevitably come up against the 1 member who really insists on making an issue out of it, but as long as you keep a clear head and a cool tone and don't allow things to escalate it should never become an issue.

We are all in the end, doing the same thing for very similar reasons, part of the excitement of being in a linkshell is that you ARE a part of a smogsboard of cultures, attitudes and opinions, as a leader, accept and control the situation rather than trying to force people into an unnatural method and you will end up with a far healthier linkshell, at the end of the day it is another person behind the pc, with real feelings and real emotions, and while we are limited to communicating over "a game" what you say still has the power to cause delight or pain. Effective leadership recognises the time and the place for each of these and when you should, and should not abuse the situation.

You are going to get critisized, you are the leader, as silly as it sounds if something goes wrong YOU are responsible, there can be varying reasons as to why you ended up at that point, but you are the person who is struggling to get to a goal and taking everyone else with you, the longer your linkshell exists the less likely you are to get people who say happy things about the linkshell and more likely to complain about why something hasn't happened for them yet, it is just an effect of human nature, what is key to surviving this is to not make it personal, remain objective and above all, don't let it break your spirit. More often than not it is more likely to be some unexpessed frustration and you just happen to be in the way at that time, the worst thing you could do is get frustrated back. Try and reason, hold your ground and remember that it is never a bad thing to make an ls member feel important, treasured and vital to the cause, every single member in your linkshell is important.


Blake said...

Omoi why don't you have an endless supply of Byakkos for us to fight!?

Omoikitte said...

LoL, why don't I spin gil from nothing for you at the same time? LOL, it would be great if you did, anyway Versus is now at the point where everything is free lot on Byakko pretty much, even the haidate.

Which feels odd, we only kill gods for Kirin sets.